Developmental Divergence and American Politics:
Cognitive Development in History

Cognitive Modalities (Piaget:Kant=Vygotsky:Hegel)

This page assembles materials of critical importance if one is to decode the cognitive performances of political actors in the semiosphere.  Fig. 2a, Cognitive Regimes: topography of the two-party system, depicts one possible outcome of the application of the materials assembled on this page to the flux of discourse and imagery seen in the public sphere (or the semiosphere) dominated by commercial media.  When the inner structures that generate these patterns--these sets of discursive elements--are included, one gets Fig. 2b. Cognitive Regimes: Topologies of the Two Party System.

Figures 2a and 2b contradict the standard presupposition of a cognitively homogeneous human population, and suggest that, on the contrary, a profound developmental divergence and differentiation is the key feature of the two-party discursive field in the United States.  Beyond this

(See Deconstructing Whiteness: Intel Science Talent Search Finalists, 2009-2012)

This approach is the antithesis of racism, which asserts that differences in cognitive performativity are to a great degree genetically based.  This page--and all other pages on this site--represents a contemporary instantiation and further development of a mode of thought that might be denoted as hegelmarx, as long as it is understood that these nouns are simply moments in the unfolding of a mode of intellectual activity that has many "moments," can be referred to as post-Kantian, and includes American pragmatism.  The excerpt, below right, is a good summary of this approach.  The question of racism is dealt with in Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense. 
Fig. 2a. Cognitive Regimes: Topography of the Two-party system

           Bourgeois (1):  CNN/MSNBC            Bourgeois (2): Universities/NPR                             (modern corporation)                    (human capital, cultural capital)   
       Concrete Operational (and preop.)      Formal Operational (and concrete op)
field
        Preoperational (and gestural)                     
                                                       Ressentiment: Fox News (rentier sectors;  
                                                     provincial capitals;
racist political ecologies)

                          (I don't remember the source of this graphic.  I found it via a Google image search)


Fig. 2b. Cognitive Regimes: Topologies of the Two-party System
ly
                            LEFT                        RIGHT  

    TOPOLOGY            depressive*                     paranoid-schizoid*       
    POLITICAL STYLE     progressive                     proto-Dorian
    COG MODE               formal + concrete         pre-operational + gestural
                                                                              + psuedo-concrete

*Simon Clarke, Social Theory, Psychoanalysis and Racism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) 
from Hartmut Giest, "The Formation Experiment in the Age of Hypermedia and Distance Learning," in The Transformation of Learning: Advances in Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, edited by Bert van Oers, Wim Wardekker, Ed Elbers, and René van der Veer (Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Looking at the history of science, we find two different roots and basic ideas inpisa36 scientific thinking: the idea and concept of evolution sensu Darwin, and the idea and concept of activity sensu Marx. . . .

 . . . the basic idea [of activity theory] is not "evolution," that is, the idea of adaptation to the environment, but "revolution," that is, change of the environment.  The dialectical analysis of human history, as it was done, for example, by Hegel and particularly by Marx, showed not only that humans adapt to the environment but also that they change it in accordance with their demands . . .  Activity is not an active adaptation to the environment but the transformation of the environment and--in interrelation with it--of humans themselves.   Although  this  idea  is  not new, it has only begun to prove its explanatory potental.  Among the first to apply this idea to psychology were Vygotsky and one of his closest students, Leontiev.  (pp. 103-105; emphasis added)

The inclusion of a micro version of Figure 1 is meant to keep constantly in mind certain fundamentals of the present situation. 
re. above: distinction between topography and topology

The original impetus for this kind of analysis emerged from a reading of the comments published in the Connecticut Post of August 31, 2006 re. the Jonathon Edington murder case.  I noticed the deep similarities between these sets of comments and the pro- and anti-war demonstrators' signs in a CNN newscast, 4:00 to 6:00 PM, 9-15-07:

 pro-war demo signs:       "Traitors Go to Hell!"
                                                  "Deport Anti-war Protesters!"
                                                  "Treason!"

 anti-war demo signs:       "End the War Now!"
                                                  "U.S. Out of Iraq!"
                                                  "Support the Troops!  End the War!"

The pro-war signs involved demonization, rage, and expulsion/purification; the ati-war signs involved issue statements.

By topologies I mean the following: take the set of all statements made in a well-defined bounded discursive space (the comments posted, the demonstrators' signs, and by extension, the two-party space).  

First, the rhetorical elements form two disjoint sets.

Second, there is a structure on each data set: a left structure and a right structure. Each data set has both a psychoanalytic and a cognitive dimension.

These psychological-semiotic structures are provided by
Simon Clarke, Social Theory, Psychoanalysis and Racism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).  The Clarke text is deployed as interpretive grid.  The psychoanalytic framework is the basis for ressentiment and the mechanisms of defense.  Without this framework one can at best give only a superficial account of Newt Gingrich's performances--and the audience responses--in the GOP debates of January 2012.

The cognitive-semiotic structures are provided by standard developmental theory.  Pre-operational and gestural cognitive modalities dominate the right rhetorical set.  Concrete operational) dominate on the left.

r&md insert
Analysis of comments sent to Connecticut Post, August 31, 2006 re. Jonathon Edington murder case
(article no longer accessible)
rabs
The comments summarized in the table were sent to the Connecticut Post at the end of August, 2006 in response to an awful story of mistaken revenge.  (Click on Rabids vs. Thoughfuls to see the comments.  These comments are no longer available online.)

from Jonathon Edington, wikipedia

Jonathon Edington (born October 29, 1976[1]) is a Fairfield, Connecticut, United States, patent lawyer who achieved national notoriety when, on August 28, 2006, he murdered his neighbor, Barry James, after being told that James had molested Edington's two-year-old daughter. There has been no evidence found that Barry James molested Edington's daughter or anyone else.[2] On August 30 Edington was released on $1 million bond. It was widely expected that Edington would attempt to mount a psychiatric defense at his murder trial,[3] however Edington instead pled guilty to the crime and was sentenced to 12 years in prison on August 31, 2007.[4]

The story  generated a large amount of press coverage in the United States and overseas.

The responses to the Connecticut Post story have been organized into two categories--rabids and thoughtfuls.

These two sets of responses also provide two distinct topologies on the semiotic manifold of the public sphere.
The cry during the town hall riots of 'don't touch my Medicare' indicated that these individuals did not grasp that Medicare is a government program--they could not subsume the particular--Medicare--under the general--government program.  The exclusive focus on the particular, combined with the inability to deal with concepts, suggests something akin to the pre-operational stage of cognitive development (ages 2-6). 

Wolf's comments on the Ed Show regarding his billboard (President or jihad?) likewise indicate a similar cognitive limitation.  For him jihad was not a concept but an epithet.  The use of words, such as socialism, fascism, communism, and jihad that in modern language use denote concepts are likewise used instead as epithets. 

The Left-Right 'debate' (Ground Zero Mosque Rallies) at a ground zero anti-Islam demonstration could easily be seen as a mere difference of opinion on where the mosque should be located, with one view based on the constitution, the other based on not offending the sensitivities of racist motherfuckers whipped into a state of hysterical rage by Fox News.

Yet this is also an example that cries out for a cognitive as well as a psychoanalytic investigation.  The tepid rationality of the one (L) was met with the emotional outburst of the other (R) that took a particular form: given the ontological priority of rage over ideation, the leap of illogic is understandable: a target must be found, the rage against it justified.  Redemptive violence (Paxton) is the order of the day.

This is the kind performance that must be understood, if any sense is to be made of contemporary American politics.  The reader should click on the link to the right, view it several times, and review it by reading the transcript to the right.
PANEL 1

The article from the Huffington Post and the three videos below should be interpreted in cognitive as well as emotional terms.

Keep Your Goddamn Government Hands Off My Medicare! Huffington Post, June 27, 2010

Anti-Obama Billboard: President? or Jihad?
November 23, 2009 MSNBC The ED Show (Video and transcript)

SCHULTZ:  . . . what does jihad mean to you, Mr. Wolf?

WOLF: I think to me it means it's an extreme element of a struggle to overcome somebody. It can be interpreted probably some different ways. but to me it's-it's certainly not one of us. It's something other than what an American is, that I've been taught.

SCHULTZ: Jihad is religious war, is it not? The definition is religious war. You must have put that word up there for something. Do you think Barack Obama wants a religious war?

WOLF: I think it's definitely anti-Christian. Yes, I do.

Rachel Maddow Interviews Uninformed Protesters, Claims This Is The World Fox News Has Created’

mosquedebate
Ground Zero Mosque Rallies Sept. 11 CNN (at 1 minute in)  ---->

L.  We believe in the same document.  You just said you believe in the Constitution.

R.  I do believe in the Constitution

L.  But you just said you don't.

R.  People were jumping out of the buildings; people were disintegrating, all over the city

L.  By terrorists.  you can't blame Muslims for the work of the terrorists.

R.  I'm not blaming Muslims.  But if they had the respect that they claim they have . . .

L.  Why should they have to appologize for the actions of radicals?

R.  I would rather see no church than a mosque right where people are going to to . . .



from S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History (Cambridge Univesity Press, 2008)

Indeed, without denying the real potental for tension between individual autonomy and class-based collectivism, we may conclude that genuine forms of collectivism and cooperative action are possible only where class solidarity is grounded in autonomous individuals capable of demanding the recognition due to them as thinking, feeling persons.  Without that, new forms of group coercion based on weak individuality are likely to be the result . . .  p. 110

That is, Smith raises the question of sociocultural ontology, of multiple developmental pathways, and of the political consequences that flow therefrom.  In this page I am looking at cognitive development as one of the dimensions of such an ontology (and as a major aspect of Bildung).  In Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense at another such dimension.
a.  from Merlin Donald, "The mind considered from a historical perspective: human cognitive phylogenesis and the possibility of continuing cognitive evolution." In D. Johnson & C. Ermeling (Eds.) The Future of the Cognitive Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 360-61

"mimetic representations are evident in human children before they acquire language competence. . . .  They continue to be important in adults, taking the form of highly variable social customs, athletic skills, and group expressive patterns (such as mass demonstrations of aggression or rejection)."


b.  and from Merlin Donald, A Mind So Rare:

 . . . modern culture contains within it a trace of each of our previous stages of cognitive evolution.  It still rests on the same old primate brain capacity for episodic or event knowledge.  But it has three additional, uniquely human layers: a mimetic layer, an oral-linguistic layer, and an external-symbolic layer.  The minds of individuals reflect these three ways of representing reality.  (p. 262)
What I did Wrong (And How to Fix It!)

Ronald Miller, Vygotsky in Perspective (Cambridge, 2011)
Rene Van Der Veer and Jaan Valsiner, TheVygotsky Reader (Blackwell, 1994)
Rene Van Der Veer and Jaan Valsiner, Understanding Vygotsky: A Quest for Synthesis (Blackwell, 1991)

Miller polemical:
Point is not to critique, but, through deployment/application of texts to illuminate current phenomena.  Thus, starting with the problem posed by the semiotic performances in the two-party discursive field, we see what happens when texts are juxtaposed with phenomena.  Thus, as Orton notes, Piaget's genetic epistemology works in helping to decode student performances in math classes.


What I did wrong.  I tried to apply the concepts of Piaget-Vygotsky et al, rather than to bring then into the field of vision from the standpoint of already being within the field of immanence (a field of immanence may not yet be a plane of immanence re. Deleuze).  When doing-listening to the interviews, for example, I saw patterns of discourse-action first; and second, allowed the archive to wash over and become entangled.  Ditto the papers of Morris L. Cooke--a field of immanence if ever there was one, the experience of which changed my thinking (More than the texts of Marxism, but not more than Kant and Heiddeger-Boss).  Long after my immersion in the habitus of the KE I came across the concept of bildung and said aha!.  Ditto the shoopfloor: I had the Wellman gem (which confirmed my own experience from the 1950s CP salons), and knew I had something.  But I didn't know what to call it, or that it already had its concept.  Thus, when I cam across Bildung (I had know of will to power for decades before I knew of bildung) I could say aha!  the mass of materials, impressions, half-formulated ideas could be dressed up and linked to vast portions of the archive.  The same might be said for the Stupid Party.

Phenomenology comes before theory (not really, but pragmatically, procedurally, with the recognition that there is no such thing as the things themselves, but there is such a thing as the proper phenomenological attitude, procedure, etc, sot hat one does not suffer a premature conceptualizaton, cognitive schlerosis, in a word--Platonism!)

But with this page theory came before phenomenology--I wanted to get the fascists, and what better way than to refer to their cognitive performances as pre-operataional and gestural (see Merlin Donald on this), so I started with the concepts prior to immersion in the phenomenological field.
------
on reading the formation of Reason:

argument about Bildung in the abstract . . . but it is already evident that development, differentiation and divergence is what human history is about.  Bakhurst proceeds from absttract problematics--is the mind really social, is bildung really a comple historical process not reducible to the mere individual--who is himself an historical product?  In this way one see the fieldf effect--there is no reason that Hegel should justify itself to Descartes!

emphasizes rational mind over mind more generally (and more darkly)

acceptance of mystery would make the innanity of standard accounts of conscoiusness go away

What is truly rev about my approach is its escape from the gravitaitonal field of power*

*I here shift over from consdiueratons of racial power and class power to a genralized concept of power qua manifested in field effects (effects manifested in the fields of discourse)


from John Marks, Gilles Deleuze: Vitalism and Multiplicity (Pluto Press, 1998)

[Deleuze] argues that Foucault has taken the rejection of repression and ideology a step further: power is not only seen as normalising, but also as productive.  (p. 118)

from Juan Carlos Gómez, Apes, Monkees, Children and the Growth of Mind (Harvard University Press, 2004)

The possibility that, at a reduced scale, the mind of an ape can be upgraded by giving him, on the one hand, a regime of socally controlled attention and interactive experiences with humans, and on the other, a new, more explicit form of representing the world, would confer dramatic support to the Vygotskian notion that higher cognition can be created through cultural processes of develoment that change the nature of cognitive ontogeny. (pp. 262-3; emphasis added)

from Sue Taylor Parker and Michael L. McKinney, The Origins of Intelligence: the Evolution of Cognitive Development in Monkeys, Apes, and Humans (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999)

Donald . . .  proposes successive levels of mental adaptation (all of which persist in humans): (1) the episodic culture of monkeys and apes, (2) the mimetic culture of Homo erectus, (3) the mythic culture of modern Homo sapiens, and (4) the theoretic cultures of literate humans. (pp. 275-6; emphasis added)
***Although I am now well beyond my original areas of study, I am sure of the inescapable necessity of deploying those disciplines whose major focus is on semiotic performances.  
 
In this page I turn to developmental psychology, deploying the perspectives contained in the list of authorities below.  The following four points are critical:

1.  The notion of performativity is central.  When referring to the pre-operational or gestural cognitive performativity of, for example, the actors on display in the cell below--cognitive dimensions of performativity--it is not the intent to ascribe to them an intrinsic limitation of their intelligence.  Merely that, in the domain of the semiosphere as presently constituted in the United States, they express/perform a pre-operational or gestural cognitive modality.  In this I am following the suggestion of Stephen J. Ceci, On Intelligence: A Bioecological Treatise on Intellectual Development:

The possibility that there exists a more restless relationship between intelligence and context, in which thinking changes both its nature and its course as one moves from one situation to another, is enough to cause shudders in some research quarters.  It represents a move toward a psychology of situations . . .  p. xvi

2.  I attempt to adapt Piaget's concept of stages to the task of decoding the materials of everyday life and political theatrics.  In textbook presentations differences between Piaget's ahistorical approach and Vygotsky's sociocultural approach are highlighted.  On the other hand, Gómez, Apes, Monkees, Children and the Growth of Mind combines Piaget's concept of stages with Vygotsky's concept of Zones of Proximal Development.  As a practical matter what one sees when examining the mass of material available over the internet, and drawing as well from my experience in teaching in a non-traditional college program, is a set of stage-like performative patterns.  What I have also found in this experience is that the sociocultural concepts Vygotsky, Bronfenbrenner et. al. provide a powerful means for understanding the variation in cognitive performances among these "non-traditional" students (and an antidote to the soft-core but pervasive racism that prevails in contemporary society).

from Anthony Orton, Learning Mathematics: Issues, Theory, and Classroom Practice (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004)

"Nevertheless, the terminology 'concrete operations', 'formal operations', is still apparently found to be useful by those reporting on empirical research, and by many who write about child development and curriculum reform"  p.68

This is a key theme of James R. Flynn, What is Intelligence?  Beyond the Flynn Effect (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

cantor

cognitive-linguistic cardinality

the Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein in the context of: Merlin Donald, A Mind So Rare, Table 7.1, p. 260

(Appologies to Georg Cantor)
אi
i =  4      Internet and the
                 Extended Mind
i =  3      Foucault (Kant  Hegel
                 Nietzsche)

i =  2      Formal operational
i =  1      Concrete operational
i =  0      Oral Mythic/  
                 pre-operational

i = -1      Mimetic/gestural (homo  
                   erectus)
i= - 2      Primate semiosis



from Stephen J. Ceci, On Intelligence: A Bioecological Treatise on Intellectual Development, expanded edition (Harvard University Press, 1996)

"The term intelligence is often used synonymously with "IQ", "g", or "general intelligence", especially in some of the psychometric literature. . .  however, the ability to engage in cognitively complex behaviors will be shown to be independent of IQ,  g, or general intelligence . . . cognitive complexity will be seen to be the more general of the two notions and the one most theoretically important to keep in mind when referring to intelligent behavior." p. 22


from Merlin Donald, "The mind considered from a historical perspective: human cognitive phylogenesis and the possibility of continuing cognitive evolution." In D. Johnson & C. Ermeling (Eds.) The Future of the Cognitive Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 360-61

"mimetic representations are evident in human children before they acquire language competence. . . .  They continue to be important in adults, taking the form of highly variable social customs, athletic skills, and group expressive patterns (such as mass demonstrations of aggression or rejection)."


3.  Piaget's ahistorical concept of stages of development aids in the decoding of actual performances; Vygotsky's and Bronfenbrenner's sociocultural and historical approaches in understanding their genesis.  thus, referring again to Stephen J. Ceci, On Intelligence:

 . . . it would appear that no theory is capable of handling the diversity of findings reviewed earlier, unless it consists of the three prongs of biology, environment, and motivation.  An important feature of the bio-ecological framework has been to suggest mechanisms by which these three factors combine to produce contextually tied performances . . .  192

***In closing, it is time to ask about the nature of the resources responsible for intellectual growth.  Past research on the influence of the environment has ducked this question, preferring instead to contrast global SES differences on IQ, surmising that some aspects subsumed under the SES rubric must be causative but never specifying what they might be.  In a recent article Uri Bronfenbrenner and I proposed specific mechanisms of organism-environment interaction, called proximal processes, through which genetic potentials for intelligence are actualized.  We described research evidence from a variety of sources demonstrating that proximal processes operate in a variety of settings throughout the life-course (beginning in the family and continuing in child-care settings, peer groups, schools, and work places), and account for more of the variation in intellectual outcome than the environmental contexts (e.g., family structure, SES, culture) in which these proximal processes take place.  Proximal processes refer to sustained interactions between a developing organism and the persons, symbols, and activities in its immediate environment.  To be effective, these processes must become progressively more complex and interactive over time." 244-5




Cognitive Modalities: a summary of sources


PSYCHOMETRICS

     •    Flynn, Nisbett, Ceci

EVOLUTIONARY (phylogenesis):
 
Donald, Mind: cognitive evolution Table 7.1 p. 260

    •    episodic (primate)
    •    mimetic (homo erectus, h. sapiens)
    •    mythic (h. sapiens sapiens)
    •    theoretic (required by advanced capitalism)
    •    post-theoretic (Foucault, Sellars, Deleuze) (Commons?)

DEVELOPMENTAL (ontogenesis):

Piaget et. al.  (Cognitive develpment)
    •    pre-operational
    •    concrete operational
    •    formal operational
    •   post-formal thought (Commons)

PSYCHOANALYTIC                                                             

Freud-Klein: Mechanisms of defense LINK
     •    projection
    •    displacement             
    •    reaction formation
    •    denial

HISTORICAL-DEVELOPMENTAL-Vygotsky, Bronfenbrenner,
                      Calvin, Flynn, Donald, Oesterdiekhoff
4.  I find it impossible to avoid placing political rhetoric in a broader historical, developmental and indeed evolutionary (biological) framework, however strange the results may appear to be:

a.  from Merlin Donald, "The mind considered from a historical perspective: human cognitive phylogenesis and the possibility of continuing cognitive evolution." In D. Johnson & C. Ermeling (Eds.) The Future of the Cognitive Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 360-61

"mimetic representations are evident in human children before they acquire language competence. . . .  They continue to be important in adults, taking the form of highly variable social customs, athletic skills, and group expressive patterns (such as mass demonstrations of aggression or rejection)."


b.  and from Merlin Donald, A Mind So Rare:

 . . . modern culture contains within it a trace of each of our previous stages of cognitive evolution.  It still rests on the same old primate brain capacity for episodic or event knowledge.  But it has three additional, uniquely human layers: a mimetic layer, an oral-linguistic layer, and an external-symbolic layer.  The minds of individuals reflect these three ways of representing reality.  (p. 262)

c.  from Juan Carlos Gomez, Apes, Monkees, Children and the Growth of Mind (Harvard University Press, 2004)

But is there any evidence that nonhuman primates may experience something akin to a cultural shaping of their minds in the way Vygotsky implied for human children?   . . . .  More recently, Tomasello (1999) has emphasized the "socialization of attention" and cognition in general as the explanation for higher achievements (by human standards) of human-reared apes.  Although the two approaches emphasize very different factors, in fact from a Vygotskian perspective they are complimentary.  Vygotsky's view was that adult mediation was optimally achieved through the use of signs and symbols, especially speech and language.  In his view, higher cognitive processes--the processes that differentiate humans from other apes--could only be created through this sociocultural mediation.  The possibility that, at a reduced scale, the mind of an ape can be upgraded by giving him, on the one hand, a regime of socally controlled attention and interactive experiences with humans, and on the other, a new, more explicit form of representing the world, would confer dramatic support to the Vygotskian notion that higher cognition can be created through cultural processes of develoment that change the nature of cognitive ontogeny. (pp. 262-3)

d.  from Richard W. Wrangham (Department of Antroropology, Peabody Museum, Harvard University) and Michael L. Wilson (Department of Ecology and Behavior, University of Minnesota, and Gombe Stream Research Centre, the Jane Goodall Institute, Tanzania), "Collective Violence: Comparison Between Youths and Chimpanzees"

cultural and biological approaches provide complementary rather than alternative perspectives in the analysis of human behavior. (p. 234)

Abstract: Patterns of collective violence found among humans include similarities to those seen among chimpanzees.  These include participation predominantly by males, an intense personal and group concern with status, variable subgroup composition, defense of group integrity, inter-group fights that include suprise attacks, and a tendency to avoid mass confrontation. . . .  Youth gangs . . . differ from chimpanzee communities as a result of numerous cultural and environmental influences including complex relations whith non-gang society. . .  Nevertheless, the concepts that sociologists use to account for collective violence in youth gangs are somewhat similar to those applied by anthropologists and biologists to chimpanzees. . . .  We therefore view the similarities in aggression between humans and chimpanzees that we review here as being adaptive responses to local conditions, predicated on an inherent male concern for social status. (p. 233)

Note.  On the use and abuse of primatology in the study of human history.  The reductionist fallacy.  The importance of culture (a post-biological phenomenon) and cognitive development (in a sense a post-post-biological phenomenon--more on this later.  Two historical eras: 1. first civilizations to Vygotsky; 2. post-Vygotsky: Cognitive development in the era of the extended mind and the developmental role of the state.  The possibility of decognification in the U.S.
developmental divergence
(these paragraphs also appear in my home page)


Fig 1(the Psychometric Data and home) poses the question of the fate of intelligence.  The enlightenment assumption of  the rational citizen as ontologically prior to historypisa35 is now only a tired shibboleth.  Development divergence is now a fundamental feature of postmodernity: the liberal-Enlightenment presupposition of a cognitively homogeneous citizenry collapses in the face of this data.

Such developmental divergence figures critically into understanding the rhetorical productions of political actors (town-halls mobs, tea party rallies, auto bailout Congressional debate, 2011-12 GOP debates).  The standard presupposition--that the set of all voters is cognitively homogeneous--is itself a key shibboleth of liberalism. 

Thus, instead of a cognitively homogeneous citizenry, there is developmental divergence and differentiation (Nisbett, Calvin, Vygotsky) producing fundamental differences in cognitive functioning among different historically and sociologially defined subgroups of the population.  These subgroups can be defined by the nature of their cognitive-linguistic practice, including inventories of basic expressions and rhetorical maneuvers, such as are seen in the Youtube videos of the Palin and McCain rallies, Tea Party protests, and the mass of political ads produced for TV, as well as videos of newscasts and talk show interviews. 

The inability of American society to generate the advanced minds critical to the development of advanced capitalism is masked by the enormous inflow of skilled and educated Third World middle classes into the U. S. labor force, including those born here of immigrant parents.  (See, e.g., lists of Intel Science Talent Search Finalists for 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.)  In this page I show how the concept of Zone(s) of Proximal Development, rather than the concepts of race and ethnicity, helps not only to explain "Asian" dominance, but also deconstructs the "white" minority subset into ZPDs.  For an early albeit implicit demonstration of the effectiveness of the concept of ZPD, see Zena Smith Blau, Black children/white children: competence, socialization, and social structure (Free Press, 1981)

The current convergence, in the United States, of economic decline, attacks on teachers and on the public sector as a whole, and the evangelical crusade against formal-operational thought (the impact of which is made clear by application of the ZPD concept), might reasonably be expected to deepen this inter- and intra-national developmental divergence. Cognitive decline--the decay of structure and discipline in cognitive performativity--is well underway, and has been for decades.

Thus, Figure 1 can be taken as marking an inflection point in human history, the point where occurs an ironic twist to the Hegel-Marx notion of the internal contradictions of capitalism.  But now it is intelligence itself (and thus technology) that is undermined by the further development what we call capitalism.

Or is it?  For the question that remains is whether this is a fundamental process of post-modern capitalism that will sweep all before it (Steve Hall, Simon Winlow and Craig Ancrum), rather than a peculiarly American phenomenon.  The first set of pages on this site, subsumed under the rubric American Exceptionalism: decoding the semiosphere), addresses this question.

Few consider the historicity, fragility, and reversibility of cognitive development. Cognitive development is not a normative, inevitable process.  It is an effect of history and politics, as well as evolution, and can suffer reversal or collapse.  One might consider the 2011-12 Republican debates in this context.  This is one area where that which is called Marxism has most markedly failed.  While celebrating the technological dynamism of capitalism, Marx was silent on the human capital dimension of capitalist development.  In this he shared the naiveté of the Enlightenment in which an inborn rationality is presupposed.  (See CPUSA: Context.  The Enlightement as a moment in the unfolding of the development of Mind, 1750-1954)




  Originally confined to development within a pedagogical framework, the concept of a zone of proximal development has implicitly been expanded by many authors (Blau, looking at cultural ethos in household; vocabulary studies (Nisbett), looking at family discourse in terms of the of size of vocabulary; also Sullivan and Nightingale).  In my skeletal study of Intel Science finalists, I continue this household-oriented use of the concept in analyzing the socio-cultural contexts of these elite high school students.

But now I wish to go beyond this in three ways.  First, to include other socio-cultural domains that directly impinge on cognitive development conceived of ontogentically (Gomez).  Second, to raise the question of contextualized performativity, where what in one theoretical context what might be viewed as an ontogenetically derived performance is, in another context, seen to have a much more complex sociocultural etiology:

The possibility that there exists a more restless relationship between intelligence and context, in which thinking changes both its nature and its course as one moves from one situation to another, is enough to cause shudders in some research quarters.  It represents a move toward a psychology of situations . . . Ceci, xvi

And third, to consider the negative: zones of (-)proximal development as distinct from zones of (+)proximal development.

And here we see why the distinction between development and peformativity is important.  The former focuses on ontogeny: the development of the organism as a self-contained vessel of capabilities, implicity taken to be ultimately isolated from a multitude of other than strictly pedagogical contexts that might encourage or inhibit performance.

An example of the latter is provided below, where networks of everyday life (peer groups) are shaped and reinforced by national media (Fox News) to such an extent that students' development is fatally subverted.

And also, where certain primate structures of identity and deference can be reinforced and idolized by powerful forces in society, at the expense of the development of bourgeois--that is, formal operational--structures.  (Mayer, Persistence, pp. 132-37; Hall, Winlow and Ancrum, Criminal Identities, Wrangham and Wilson, "Collective Violence: Comparison Between Youths and Chimpanzees"; Mazur, Biosociology of Dominance and Deference)

Note my idiosyncratic use of the term bourgeois.  Normally an economic concept, I am using it almost exclusively as concept that contains both a cognitive and a characterological dimension (Bildung).  To see why I do this, see CPUSA.  (And think about the panel to the right.)  And in keeping with Franco Moretti, The Way of the World: The Bildungsroman in European Culture (Verso, 2000): see Bildung: Was Mozart a Communist?  



bronf

Chase
Franz de Waal, (right) provides an important antidote to attempts to reduce the violence that is a feature of complex, hierarchical societies to being simply the expression of our primate inheritance.  Nevertheless, as Wrangham points out, certain small-scale features of modern life are profoundly similar to chimpanzee behavior.  De Waal points this out as well.

The upshot of all this is that there exists in contemporary American society an incredible range of cognitive performances. This raises the question of just  how far back, developmentally speaking, one has to go to make sense of these performances?  If you think this is a bridge too far, reread the comments above by Donald, Gomez, and Wrangham (and Chase).

It seems that, contrary to the standard presupposition of a cognitively homogenious human population, we should refer to the nominally human.  Only after empirical investigation into actual cognitive performances can we assign a more specific characterization to specific subsets of humans.  Again, one of the major effects of racism is the implicit prohibition against conducting this kind of analysis of the nominally "white" population.

Notwithstanding de Waal's critique of Planet of the Apes, the latter in its distortion actually provides a succinct account of the fundamental divergence in modern societies between right (the ancient regime) and left (enlightement modernity).

The peculiaries of certain forms of patriotism--the kind that makes a big deal of a  "bit of colored ribbon" (
With supreme cynicism, Napoleon observed, "A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon."--see de Waal in right panel)--have perplexed many.  What if the organizational machines of complex societies build their hegemony precisely on these small-scale realities.  What if the humans on display in Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense are in fact gangs (Wrangham) for whom the little bit of colored ribbon is the gang's fetish; and therefore, certain forms of "patriotism" can be traced to the behavior of primate gangs?  What if certain forms of patriotism rest on such primitive cognitive foundations that the nation as such is literally inconceivable?  Let us define nationalism, as distinct from  patriotism, as a higher-order of cognitive performativity in which the nation as such can be conceived (as a set of communities and a set of variables, the context for strategic developmental thought, as a complex multi-dimensional entity, etc.).

So the question remains: how broad a behavioral span is there in contemporary humans societies, from the proverbial rocket scientists to the woman  in the rally who thanks Newt Gingrich for putting Juan Williams in his place?  
from Franz de Waal, Our Inner Ape (pp. 128-9)

The primatologist watches the 2001 movie [Planet of the Apes] with horror: the cruel lead ape looks like a bipedal chimpanzee (yet sniffs like a rabbit), gorillas are depicted as dumb and obedient, an orangutang plays a slave-trader, and bonobos have conveniently been left out.  Hollywood has always been more at ease with viiolence than with sex.

Violence reigns supreme in this movie.  There is nothing as unrealistic, though, as the vast armies  of uniformed apes seen on the screen. . . .  Since debates about human aggressiveness invariably revolve around warfare, the command structures of armies should make us think twice before drawing parallels with animal aggression. . . .  Are wars born from anger?  Leaders often have economic motives, internal political reasons, or act out of self-defense. . . .  With supreme cynicism, Napoleon observed, "A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon."  I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that the majority of people in the majority of wars have been driven by something other than aggression.  Human warfare is systematic and cold-blooded, making it an almost new phenomenon.

The critical word is "almost."  Tendencies toward group identification, xenophobia, and lethal combat--all of which do occur in nature--have combined with our highly develoed planning capacities to "elevate" human violence to its inhuman level.  The study of animal behavior may not be much help when it comes to things like genocide, but if we move away from nation-states, looking instead at human behavior in small-scale societies, the differences are not that great anymore.
The above provides the set of textual resources to be deployed in an effort to understand the cog dimen of performtivity in real world--the semiosphere.  Below are analyses of specific moments, specific cognitive events in the arena of politics made accessible by the internet.

cognitive dimensions of performativity in the "real" world



The cry during the town hall riots of 'don't touch my Medicare' indicated that these individuals did not grasp that Medicare is a government program--they could not subsume the particular--Medicare--under the general--government program.  The exclusive focus on the particular, combined with the inability to deal with concepts, suggests something akin to the pre-operational stage of cognitive development (ages 2-6). 

Wolf's comments on the Ed Show regarding his billboard (President or jihad?) likewise indicate a similar cognitive limitation.  For him jihad was not a concept but an epithet.  The use of words, such as socialism, fascism, communism, and jihad that in modern language use denote concepts are likewise used instead as epithets. 

The Left-Right 'debate' (Ground Zero Mosque Rallies) at a ground zero anti-Islam demonstration could easily be seen as a mere difference of opinion on where the mosque should be located, with one view based on the constitution, the other based on not offending the sensitivities of racist motherfuckers whipped into a state of hysterical rage by Fox News.

Yet this is also an example that cries out for a cognitive as well as a psychoanalytic investigation.  The tepid rationality of the one (L) was met with the emotional outburst of the other (R) that took a particular form: given the ontological priority of rage over ideation, the leap of illogic is understandable: a target must be found, the rage against it justified.  Redemptive violence (Paxton) is the order of the day.  

a classroom episode

The overwhelming of logic and language by emotion was strikingly evident in a classroom episode.  The class consisted of employees who varied from working poor up to but not including those who enjoyed the wages and benefits of unionized industrial workers, and had about five whites out of a total of about 33.  Illegal immigration was a big issue at that time, and I tried to introduce two concepts: labor markets and chain migration.  At times the whites (in today's terms, think tea party) could grasp the fact that an employer has to create a market for labor to induce migration to his workplace, and thus the principle causal factor leading to labor force migration--whether "illegal" or not--was the action of capital, not the action of "illegal" immigrants.  For perhaps 5 to 10 seconds--after a two-hour period of discussion that included drawing diagrams on the blackboard--they grasped the logical structure of the analysis--they were on the brink of formal operational performativity . . .  and then, overwhelmed by the emotional drive to attack the other (plus peer pressure), would simply fall back on something like: yeah, but they are still wrong, it's still their "fault", they are the ones to "blame".

On the one hand, one could see the deployment of the mechanisms of defense  in the attack on the other; on the other hand, one could also see the importance of at least three specific performative contexts with developmental implications: Fox News, peer groups, and household. [Bronfenbrenner]  These zones are major factors in undermining the college environment.  In fact, all of our faculty acknowledged that our students never got near to even understanding that thinking more abstractly (formal operational competence) was the desired goal of the university.  To speak in terms of labor economics (in this case) was to speak an alien language that threatened one's identity and security.  If we redefine the term lifeworld as the sum of ZPDs of any given set of organisms, then one can see how the development of modern, formal operational competence is subverted in certain very large subgroups of the population.  That is, the power of institutional networks to shape the semiosphere in their own political and economic interest has not only been underestimated but ignored by liberal critics.  By demonizing scientific--that is, formal operational--reasoning, right-wing media constitute a zone of proximal development that is especially powerful in its effect.  For those subsets of the population caught up in its web, it reinforces all the pathologies of ressentiment, demonizes scientific (that is, formal operational) thought, and fundamentally subverts development.  

When Rupert Murdoch and Michelle Rhee work together on educational "reform," one should understand just how profound an indication this is of the cognitive future of working class Americans.  In analyzing the lists of Intel Science Talent Search Finalists for 2009, 2010 and 2011, one finds first of all that about two thirds of these students are Asian in family background.  But more interesting are the categories that help to deconstruct the "white" finalists.  I will expand on this later.  For now, let me just say that four categories emerge from this encounter with the data (and in the broader context of American society): severely white (that is, where rage is combined with the symbols and rhetoric of violence toward the other), really white (people for whom being white really matters--heavily evangelical Protestant but also northeastern Catholics)--and toward whom the racist appeals of most GOP primary contestants are directed), merely white (largely children of upper middle class Catholic and mainline Protestant educated parents), and nearly white (Jews and European immigrants).  Out of the roughly 110 finalists I have looked at, of the "white" minority there may be one or possibly two from the severely and really white subsets.  All the rest are subsumable under the merely and nearly white categories.  (This would be a good student project to undertake.  Teams of students could divide up the names and share info while further developing, revising or refuting the categories I have suggested.)


cognitive dimensions of performativity: examples

Ressentiment and the mechanisms  of defense focused mainly on images, which lend themselves well to decoding through deployment of the concepts of psychoanalysis. But it is in the videos available over the Internet that we can really examine performances.  Indeed, watching videos is better than being there, since one can repeatedly view a video, focus in on particular segments, and thus really think about it in detail and at leisure.

I ws reading Donald's Mind in 2003 when anti-war protests began.  I, and many others, were puzzled by the pro-war reactions to the critique of the Iraq war based on the failure to find WMDs.  Pro-war expressions took the form of  "I support the troops" and "I support the President."  My puzzlement at the lack of cognitive content in these responses--the refusal or inability to respond to questions of fact and rationale--could be resolved by deploying Donald's theoretical framework.  These phrases were gestures that were merely clothed in simple declarative statements.  There was no cognitive content, or at least no cognitive content in relation to the questioning of the rationale for war.  It is in this context that Wrangham and Wilson ("Collective Violence: Comparison Between Youths and Chimpanzees") becomes compulsory reading for those who would seriously understand this phenomenon.

The article and the three videos below should be interpreted in cognitive as well a emotional terms.

Keep Your Goddamn Government Hands Off My Medicare! Huffington Post, June 27, 2010

Anti-Obama Billboard: President? or Jihad?
November 23, 2009 MSNBC The ED Show (Video and transcript)

SCHULTZ:  . . . what does jihad mean to you, Mr. Wolf?

WOLF: I think to me it means it's an extreme element of a struggle to overcome somebody. It can be interpreted probably some different ways. but to me it's-it's certainly not one of us. It's something other than what an American is, that I've been taught.

SCHULTZ: Jihad is religious war, is it not? The definition is religious war. You must have put that word up there for something. Do you think Barack Obama wants a religious war?

WOLF: I think it's definitely anti-Christian. Yes, I do.

Rachel Maddow Interviews Uninformed Protesters, Claims This Is The World Fox News Has Created’

mosquedebate
Ground Zero Mosque Rallies Sept. 11 CNN (at 1 minute in)  ---->

L.  We believe in the same document.  You just said you believe in the Constitution.

R.  I do believe in the Constitution

L.  But you just said you don't.

R.  People were jumping out of the buildings; people were disintegrating, all over the city

L.  By terrorists.  you can't blame Muslims for the work of the terrorists.

R.  I'm not blaming Muslims.  But if they had the respect that they claim they have . . .

L.  Why should they have to appologize for the actions of radicals?

R.  I would rather see no church than a mosque right where people are going to to . . .
















Northeastern Catholics (exit polls; two articles)
Observing one-on-one interviews by reporters with individuals in GOP primary events (four pro-Gingrich women on super Tuesday; a Sarah Palin supporter in 2008), I was struck by the inability to respond to questions about their support for their candidate.  In 2008 one women, when asked why she supported Palin, said "because of her policies."  when asked "which policies" the woman could not respond.  The four pro-Gingrich supporters on super Tuesday: when asked why they supported him, one said "because he is the most intelligent," thus merely repeating one of Gingrich's major claims.  Another said because "he was a good old boy."  Interestingly, the talking heads back in the studio tried to make that utterance look more respectable.  Prior to super Tuesday when a Gingrich supporter was asked why she supported him, she replied because of "his big ideas"--another one of Gingrich's major rhetorical gestures.  The reporter failed to follow up with the question "what are some of those big ideas?"  Sometimes the underlying signified of these rhetorical responses is made evident, as when a supporter thanked Gingrich for "putting Juan Williams in his place."

I am just now (the end of super Tuesday week) reading Juan Carlos Gomez, Apes, Monkees, Children and the Growth of Mind (Harvard University Press, 2004).  All I can say now is that this book makes me think about the incredible range of cognitive performances seen in modern America, and raises the question of just  how far back, developmentally speaking, one has to go to make sense of these performances?  If you think this is a bridge too far, reread Merlin Donald's comments in the right panel --->

It seems that, contrary to the standard presupposition of a cognitively homogenious human population, we should refer to the nominally human.  Only after empirical investigation into actual cognitive performances can we assign a more specific characterization to specific subsets of humans.  Again, one of the major effects of racism is the implicit prohibition against conducting this kind of analysis of the nominally "white" population.  (See Deconstructing Whiteness: Intel Science Talent Search Finalists, 2009-2012)
pre-operational generative matrix:

absence of abstract objects (medicare as government program)
absence of hierarchy



a non-traditional degree-granting college program


 In the degree-granting adult education program (in a major public university) in which I taught, the common term referring to our students was non-traditional.  In practical usage, this was synonymus with the term urban.  Possibly some of the readers of this will have heard the oxymoron urban city.  We all know what these terms mean, but what is more interesting is the kind of psychological stress their speakers are undergoing and the socio-cultural contexts in which they are used.  Urban city is especially amusing: its obvious euphemistic purpose does not stop people from using it, and thereby revealing how bent out of shape they are by any broaching of the subject of "race", and thus revealing the enormous power of racism in the modern world.

As you might imagine, in such a stress-filled context there was great difficulty in seeing the actuality of the situation: our students varied greatly in their cognitive performances.  But of course, such variations could not be discussed or even seen, so powerful was the effect of that which is unnamable, that which was subsumed under the noun that could not be spoken.

But there were in fact clear patterns in cognitive performance, patterns that were traceable to differences in the sets of [Zones of Proximal Development] in which individuals were enmeshed at various times in their youth.  Those who were formal-operational (or immediately able to enter into that cognitive domain) had grown up in politically active households.  One student had grown up in a household linked to the Shrine of the Black Madonna.  The family would get together every day to discuss and read newspapers and political books.  Another was strongly influenced by her uncle, a politically conscious West Virginia coal miner.  A third was a young UAW activist.

At the other extreme was a group of about five whose leader was a protege of his Baptist minister, and for whom words were almost meaningless elements in a gestural repertoire, and whose followers were virtually speechless--that is,dd where meaning was subordinate to gesture.

Between these two extremes were the majority of students, a mix of pre-operational and conrete operational.  

In this context I (and many of my colleagues) came up against a strong resistance to formal operational thought.  E.g., in opposition to the kind of standard concepts of causal analysis in social science thought we would always hear, "it's the parents' fault" or  'fault' of some other blameable object.  When I brought up the finding of political scientists that voter turnout was strongly correlated with socioeconomic status, the almost universal response was "they're just lazy."  There was such resistance to thinking of human behavior outside of the framework of the moral shibboleths and ontological presuppositions of popular culture (the isolated individual as the be all and end all of existence) that no one ever actually got the point: this was standard social science thinking.  

It was not a question of agreeing with it, but of just seeing how such thinking works.  The individual and his moral character was the only ontology of their worldview.  Although this inability to think beyond the individual as isolated moral agent is not clearly stated in textbook accounts of cognitive development, it seems that this could be seen as a major element in preoperational thought.  (This pervasive resistance to modern thought was our 'dirty little secret' as one coleague said in a committee meeting.)

Of course, it was not in the interest of an "enrollment driven" program (where "anyone could teach anything") to deal with this developmental issue.  And in fact such developmental issues require a holistic approach if the developmental effects of class are to be mitigated (see Pasi Sahlberg, American Educator).  Without a systematic effort by the institution to make clear in a sustained way what the cognitve issues were, the students reflected the modes of cognitive practice prevalent in the varous population subsets all to misledingly lumped together under the rubric "working class".  And of course, I have already made reference to that which is unnamable, that which was subsumed under the noun that could not be spoken.


in above figure managerial were primarily front line supervisors, tech...admin a were trainers, tech...admin b were lower classification clerical workers.

Below is an attempt to adapt Piaget's concept of stages to the task of decoding the materials of everyday life and political theatrics, examples of which were given above.  In textbook presentations differences between Piaget's ahistorical approach and Vygotsky's sociocultural approach are highlighted.  In utilizing Piaget's concept of stages I am not taking sides in this.  In fact, I find Vygotsky's concept of Zones of Proximal Development as critical to this entire enterprise; and Ceci's concept of complexity actually more helpful in decoding the semiosphere:

The term intelligence is often used synonymously with "IQ", "g", or "general intelligence", especially in some of the psychometric literature. . .  however, the ability to engage in cognitively complex behaviors will be shown to be independent of IQ, g, or general intelligence . . . cognitive complexity will be seen to be the more general of the two notions and the one most theoretically important to keep in mind when referring to intelligent behavior." (p. 22)


Nevertheless, as a practical matter what one sees when examining the mass of material available over the internet, and drawing as well from experience in teaching in a non-traditional program, is a set of stage-like performative patterns (see Orton, right).  Since, on the other hand, it is clear to me that these patterns are what one finds in various zones of proximal development whose presence and effects are manifested in the semiosphere and in the classroom,  I don't see a problem.  


from Anthony Orton, Learning Mathematics: Issues, Theory, and Classroom Practice (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004)

"Nevertheless, the terminology 'concrete operations', 'formal operations', is still apparently found to be useful by those reporting on empirical research, and by many who write about child development and curriculum reform"  p. 68.


from Michael Cole, The Development of Children (W. H. Freeman and Co, 1996), p. 485

"R. Murray Thomas illustrates the difference between concrete operations and formal operations (which are said to appear in early adolescence) with the following two questions:

Concrete: If Alice has two apples and Caroline gives her three more, how many will there be?

Formal: Imagine that there are two quantities which together make up a whole.  If we increase the first quantitity but the whole remains the same, what has happened to the second quantity?  



1.  the absence of formal operational performativities in the public sphere (but see caveat➝)

The first observation is that formal operational performativities are absent from the public sphere, and are frequently demonized.  For example, education "reformer" Michelle Rhee, when she says poverty is no excuse, is performing a virtual exorcism of formal operational thought.  (See also article on Relay University in (Assessing the Rhetoric of Educational Reform.)

Second, psuedo-concepts--job-creators and soccer moms, for example--indicate the rejection of the set of abstract concepts that are at the core of modern social scientific discourse.  Are these an appeal to preoperational cognitive modalities? Are job-creators and soccer moms two examples of a preoperational ontology?  Personifications?

Third, the domain of actors is comprised largely of individuals.  Absent are institutions (except when reduced to individual equivalents), and historical contexts (patterns of demonization for example--see Judge Jones III on the historical context of intelligent design).  For example, when politicians make outrageous statements (on Obama's citizenship status, for example) the issue is always reduced to the question of whether he and/or the intended audience is sincere or really believes what is being said.  Tactical calculations of campaign staffs or political elites aimed at manipulating segments of the population, or the larger context of the politics of ressentiment in which such calculations are made, are absent from the public sphere.

Fourth, the logic of action in the public sphere is reduced to the personal motives of individuals.  Elites are conceptualized only as individuals whose chief characteristics are notoriety and wealth.

And fifth, both left and right share in a deification of the people.  (Stark and Nietzsche, right panel)
caveat

Sometimes Democrats function on a weakly expressed formal operational level in the public sphere.  During the 2008 campaign both McCain and Clinton tried to make demagogic hay out of a proposed gas tax holiday.  The Obama campaign actually did the math, pointing out the pitifully small amount involved.  Obama also made a reference to improving gas mileage through proper tire inflation (a saving that theoretically would equal the output from the north slope of Alaska).  The McCain campaign distributed tire guages in an effort at ridicule.  In the Congressional debate on the auto bailout Democrats made references to the input-output networks that would be involved in the collapse of Chrysler and GM; Republicans made reference only to the shiboleths of a provincial Protestantism (we shouldn't reward the bad behavior of individuals).






from Werner Stark,  Sociology of Religion: A Study of Christendom (Fordham University Press, 1966-72) vol. 1, p. 188

"As democratic convictions became settled . . . 'the people' emerged increasingly as the true sovereign, and the conception gained ground that 'the people' is sane and sound, and its voice, at least to some extent, is sacred."


from Nietzsche, The Will to Power, § 863

“The values of the weak prevail because the strong have taken them over as devices of leadership.”


2. the prevalence of pre-operational performativities (but see above caveat)

Textbook definitions are given in italics.  Here I attempt to apply these definitions to observed rhetorical behavior.

egocentrism technically this means inability to see things from perspectives other than one's own.  But can this also refer to the use of collective nouns (blacks, Muslims: see Ground Zero debate)  where the social world consists solely of individuals and individuals writ large (see Ground Zero debate where one side simply could not grasp the great variation among those humans denoted Muslim)

centration: abiity to focus only on one aspect of a problem (health care debate--see chart---> )

transductive reasoning (December 8, 2009: Gretchen Carlson Dumbs Down)

Gretchen Carlson on Hugo Chavez calling Obama an "ignoramus."--"I googled it. Ignoramus is an ignorant lawyer.  We all know that Barak Obama is a lawyer."

(John Daily: Obama gave a speech in Berlin.  We all know that Hitler gave speeches in Berlin)

inability to conserve-->matro-economic unemployent question (anyone can get a job vs. doing the math)

lack of hierarchical classification--> Keep Your Goddamn Government Hands Off My Medicare!
pre-operational: textbook definitions

egocentrism; inability to conserve; centration; states vs. transformations; transductive reasoning; lack of hierarchical classification

"accoring to Piaget, young children are not capable of operations--mental actions that obey logical rules.  Instead, their thinking is rigid, limited to one aspect of a situation at a time, and strongly influenced by the way things appear at the moment." Berk, 221

fourlies


NBC News poll from   firstread.msnbc.msn.com/
Posted: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 9:16 AM
by Domenico Montanaro

Centration: focusing on only one aspect, and that is demonized;
paranoid moral theater: evil-doing in the guise of health care reform
concrete operational performativities in the public sphere

1.  This is difficult to assess.  Take the Keystone Pipeline issue.  Various claims are made about how many jobs it will create.  What doesn't happen in the media is any attempt at ordering these claims in terms of evaluating or even simply indicating the source.  Instead (as in media discussions of global warming or evolution) reference is made to the controversy.  (see Pipe Dreams? Jobs Gained, Jobs Lost  by the Construction of Keystone XL a report by Cornell University Global Labor Institute.  A serious news organization would take cognizance of this report.  But this is not the function of the major media.)

2.  Or monthly reports of employment.  The major media never show this graph, and thus never place the data in context (except for loose verbal characterizations of the past few months).  How would one characterize this kind of cognitive performance?  Ceci's idea of cognitive complexity seems more useful here.

Is the inability to classify or arrange in a series in example 1 a failure to perform even on a concrete operational level?  Can the same be said of example 2?


concrete operational:  conservation, classification, seriation, spatial reasoning

"children think in an organized logical fashion only when dealing with concrete information that they can perceive directly.  Their mental operations work poorly with abstract ideas--ones not apparent in the real world." Berk, 291



emplEmployment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics survey (National)

1-Month Net Change
Series Id:     CES0000000001
Seasonally Adjusted
Super Sector:  Total nonfarm
Industry:      Total nonfarm
NAICS Code:    -
Data Type:     ALL
EMPLOYEES, THOUSANDS
popular opposition to formal opertional thought: two examples from class

These two examples from class are revealing.  In program this was a virtually universal experience.  (First example is a repeat of a paragraph 6 rows up)

1.  In opposition to the kind of standard concepts of causal analysis in social science thought we would always hear, "it's the parents' fault" or  'fault' of some other blameable object.  When I brought up the finding of political scientists that voter turnout was strongly correlated with socioeconomic status, the almost universal response was "they're just lazy."  There was such resistance to thinking of human behavior outside of the framework of the moral shibboleths and ontological presuppositions (the isolated individual as the be all and end all of existence) of popular culture that no one ever actually got the point: this was standard social science thinking.  It was not a question of agreeing with it, but of just seeing how such thinking works.  The individual and his moral character was the only ontology of their worldview.  Although this inability to think beyond the individual as isolated moral agent is not clearly stated in textbook accounts of cognitive development, it seems that this could be seen as a major element in preoperational thought.  (This pervasive resistance to modern thought was our 'dirty little secret' as one coleauge said in a committee meeting.)

two anecdotes (dependent variables:voter turnout, crime; independent variables: poverty and family structure as independent variables) and student reactions
2.  In attempting to discuss social issues such as crime in the standard (though limited) way, by relating dependent to independent variables (and distinguishing correlation from causality) we would always get the following responses.  Among our students were many who were single parents.  When we raised the question of the relationship beween family structure and crime statistics, our students took this personally.  "I'm a single parent and my kids turnd out ok," was the usual response.  They could not operate on the independent variable as a concept, but could only relate to it by reducing it to the personal level, rather than seeing it as a statistical concept.



"Difference" is a touchy subject.  Margarita Azmitia's review of Cole's Cultural Psychology: The Once and Future Discipline, is indicative of this.  Her critical remark--there is no discussion of cultural factors such as race, gender, or ethnicity, etc.--reflects this "sensitivity", which itself is one of the more subtle effects of racism.  In fact, one of the striking things about modern American discourses on "race" and intelligence is its failure to scrutinize the extreme variations in "white" cognitive performativity.  Notwithstanding liberal snickering at the bizarre cognitive performances of Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign, its character and significance remain untouched as subjects of discussion.  The great failure of liberal discussions of Palin et. al. on the campaign trail is that liberals fail to ask the obvious questions about the nature of her audiences.  Yet when taken as an organic whole--performer plus audience--the question of the intelligence of the audience is necessarily raised.

The excerpt from Eli Rozik, The roots of theatre: rethinking ritual and other theories of origin, is in this context of great interest.  



from Review of Cole: "Is Cultural Psychology Our Next Frontier?"  Cultural Psychology: The Once and Future Discipline by Michael Cole.  Author(s) of Review: Margarita Azmitia, The American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 111,  No. 2 (Summer, 1998), pp. 301-305

"One of the difficulties is that we continue to have problems interpreting differences. In an era of valuing multiculturalism and diversity, there is nevertheless great uneasiness about making statements about what these differences mean and their implications for policy. In his book, Cole reviews the historical controversies surrounding IQ tests and the studies of "primitive" peoples, but he is surprisingly silent about the current politics of cultural comparisons. There is no discussion of cultural factors such as race, gender, or ethnicity that have been so central to other formulations of cultural psychology (e.g., Ogbu, 1981; Veroff & Goldberger, 1995) and reflect power differentials in our society that can limit children's opportunities for development."




Historical

from Merlin Donald, "The mind considered from a historical perspective: human cognitive phylogenesis and the possibility of continuing cognitive evolution." In D. Johnson & C. Ermeling (Eds.) The Future of the Cognitive Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 360-61

"mimetic representations are evident in human children before they acquire language competence. . . .  They continue to be important in adults, taking the form of highly variable social customs, athletic skills, and group expressive patterns (such as mass demonstrations of aggression or rejection)."

and from Merlin Donald, A Mind So Rare:

 . . . modern culture contains within it a trace of each of our previous stages of cognitive evolution.  It still rests on the same old primate brain capacity for episodic or event knowledge.  But it has three additional, uniquely human layers: a mimetic layer, an oral-linguistic layer, and an external-symbolic layer.  The minds of individuals reflect these three ways of representing reality.  262


And now, at what level of semiosis was the following expression of pro-war sentiment in response to the critique of the Iraq war based on the failure to find WMDs?  "I support the troops" and "I support the President."  At that time I was reading Donald's Mind, and so my puzzlement at the lack of cognitive content in these responses could be resolved by deploying Donald's theoretical framework.  These phrases were gestures that were merely clothed in language--in the simplest form of languge possible in modern society.

related . .  epithetical; Nietzsche

Enter Franz de Waal (Our Inner Ape) and W. J. Cash (The Mind of the South).

And now, thus armed, one can see more deeply into such things as: Gingrich Slams Juan Williams in Racial Exchange,   newsmax.com, 1-17-12


from Stephen J. Gould, The Panda's Thumb, quoted in On deep history and the brain by Daniel Lord Smail (University of California Press, 2008). p. 86

Cultural evolution has progressed at rates that Darwinian processes cannot begin to approach. Darwinian evolution continues in Homo Sapiens, but at rates so slow that it has no longer much impact on our history. This crux in the Earth's history has been reached because Lamarckian processes have finally been unleashed upon it. Human cultural evolution, in strong opposition to our biological history, is Lamarckian in character. What we learn in one generation, we transmit directly by teaching and writing. Acquired characteristics are inherited in technology and culture. Lamarckian evolution is rapid and accumulative. It explains the cardinal difference between our past, purely biological mode of change, and our current, maddening acceleration towards something new and liberating - or towards the abyss.


from William Calvin, "The Evolution of Human Minds: The Ice Age Emergence of Higher Intellectual Functions"  (The version of this talk for WCBR 2005 is available as webbed slides with narration. from Calvin's website)

The suite of higher intellectual functions includes syntax, multi-stage planning, structured music, chains of logic, games with arbitrary rules, and our fondness for discovering hidden patterns (the search for coherence).  It's likely that they share some neural machinery for handling structure and judging coherence.  But the archeological record suggests that they are late-comers -- that the three-fold enlargement of the ape brain into the human brain was complete about 150,000 years ago, but that they were intensely conservative, doing little that Neanderthals didn’t do as well.  The "behaviorally modern" aspects were seldom seen before the Creative Explosion about 50,000 years ago.  So the big brain is not all about intellect.  What happened to reorganize the brain after 100,000 years at its present size, to make it more creative and versatile, back during the middle of the most recent ice age?
Two Dimensions of History and Cognition (Donald and Vygotsky)

I.  Pre-Vygotsky

a.  before Enlightenment
b.  Enlightenment to mid-19th Century
c.  Bismarck and Horace Mann to WWI

1.  The historical development of language and cognition in humans, if we take Donald et. al. seriously, produces a sitution in which archaic as well as modern cognitive modalities can coexist not only in the same person, but can also be unevenly distributed in the multitude of performative domains that constitute modern society.  While Donald's main work involve understanding the developmental progression of cognition (second quote in above panel), his reference to the presence of

2.  state-sponsored development coms to the fore to some extent in the 19th century but merges as a dominant rality in the late 20th century, thus opening up a new era in human history.

II.  Post-Vygotsky (Bildung)

4.  OECD (2010), PISA 2009 Results: Overcoming Social Background – Equity in Learning Opportunities and Outcomes (Volume II) , p. 3

"Naturally, GDP per capita influences educational success, but this only explains 6% of the differences in average student performance.  The other 94% reflect the potential for public policy to make a difference.  The stunning success of Shanghai-China, which tops every league table in this assessment by a clear margin, shows what can be achieved with moderate economic resources in a diverse social context.  In mathematics, more than a quarter of Shanghai-China’s 15-year-olds can conceptualise, generalise, and creatively use information based on their own investigations and modelling of complex problem situations. They can apply insight and understanding and develop new approaches and strategies when addressing novel situations. In the OECD area, just 3% of students reach this level of performance." (Only 1.9% of Americn students reached level 6.)

"mimetic representations [in] group expressive patterns (such as mass demonstrations of aggression or rejection)."

opens the door to much of what this website is about.
A short history of educational reform in Finland, Pasi Sahlberg1, PhD

The first quote in the above panel points the way to an approach to the cognitive performativity that, among other things, shatters the enlightenment presupposition of cognitive homogeneity among modern humans.

This could be called "racist", especially by those who are racist.  That is because the primitive mind of the racist cannot grasp all manner of complexity, to put it nicely.  But racism has two main features: an obsession with simple nouns (black, muslim, jew); and an implicit presumption of a biological basis for such differences as are imagined.  All of history, sociology, psychology etc. is rejected by the racism mind.  The racist mind is itself both primitive at the level of cognitive performativity, and pathological, when grasped within the discursive field of psychoanalysis.

The standard approach to critiquing racism is to start with the scientific evidence.  Such an approach is a sign of the enormous power of racism in the modern world.

The critique of racism should begin instead through deployment of the social sciences.

1.  As already indicated above, and as developed in ressentiment . . . , racism is a particular expression of ressentiment, can be analyzed through use of psychoanalytic concetps of MD, and is thus a pathological condition.

2.  In terms of cognitive development, racism is both primitive and retarded.

3.  In terms of its historical development, racism is the work of political elites working with the above raw materials.

By attempting to refute the claims made by racism on a scientific basis alone one is legitimizing the standing of racism.  The question of racism should be turned on its head: there is indeed a congitive dimension to difference and variation among humans in modern society, and racism is at the bottom of that developmental and historical (not biological) hierarchy.  One should not take racism's claims seriously (just as one should not take the critics of global warming and evolution seriously).









Webpage  

from William Calvin, A Brief History of the Mind: From Apes to Intellect and Beyond (Oxford University Press, 2004)

It is just in the last 1 percent of that up-from-the-apes period that human creativity and technological capabiities have really blossomed.  It's been called "The Mind's Big Bang."  In our usual expansive sense of "mind," the history of the mind is surprisingly brief, certainly when compared with the long increase in brain size and the halting march of toolmaking. xiv 

  . . . there are emergent properties lurking in anything that produces a steep gradient. . .  I can imagine softwiring emergents in the brain intensively engaging in structured stuff at earlier ages.  The steeper gradients between rich and poor may produce surprising social effects unless we do something about the rich getting richer. 177-8

Yet once our education has the techniques to incorporate what is being learned about brain plasticity and inborn individual differences, we are likely to produce many more adults of unusual abilities, able to juggle twice as many concepts at once, able to follow a longer chain of reasoning, able to shore up the lower floors of their mental house of cards to allow fragile new levels to be tried out, metaphors and beyond--the survival of the stable but on a higher level yet again.   183

Such education, perhaps more than any of the imagined genetic changes, could make for a very different adult population.  We would still look the same coming out of the womb, would still have the same genetics, but adults could be substantially different.  A lot of the elements of human intelligence are things like that, while they also have a genetic basis, are malleable; we ought to be able to educate for superior performance.
 184

But at the high end, what might pump us up even higher?  If our conscisness is a house of cards, perhaps there are techniques, equivalent to bending the cards, that will allow us to spend more time at the more abstract levels.  Can we shore up our mental edifices to build much taller "buildings" or discover the right mental "steel?" (p. 186)


Emergents are hard to predict, and they are not all beneficial . . .  (pp. 177-78)




from Merlin Donald, A Mind So Rare: the Evolution of Human Consciousness (W.W. Norton, 2001)


 . . . modern culture contains within it a trace of each of our previous stages of cognitive evolution.  It still rests on the same old primate brain capacity for episodic or event knowledge.  But it has three additional, uniquely human layers: a mimetic layer, an oral-linguistic layer, and an external-symbolic layer.  The minds of individuals reflect these three ways of representing reality.  262

Something about our mentality changed in the past few millenia, something that made us able to construct such exotic things as symphonies, philosophies, oil refineries, nuclear weapons, and robots.  Do such achievements have implications for theories of consciousness?  Many would deny that they do.  They would claim that the parameters of mind were surely fixed long ago, when we emerged as a species, and that culture can add nothing to an equation written deeply into the human genome.

•But that common belief does not stand up to scrutiny.  The human mind has been drastically changed by culture.  In modern culture, enculturation has become an even more formative influence on mental development than it was in the past.  This may be a direct reflection of brain plasticity, rather than genetic change, but that does not in any way diminish the importance of the change from a purely cognitive standpoint.  The human mind is so plastic in the way it carries out it cognitive business, individually and in groups, that the core configuration of skills that defines a mind actually varies significantly as a function of different kinds of culture.  This is especially true of the most conscious domains of mind, such as those involved in formal thinking and representation.

Let me be very clear about what I mean here.  I am not speaking of trivial cultural changes, such as variations in custom or language use.  These are by far the most common and have no proven cognitive impact.  The most important of these is literacy.  Literacy skills change the functional organization of the brain and deeply influence how individuals and communities of literate individuals perform cognitive work.  Mass literacy has triggered two kinds of major cogitive reorganizations, one in individuals and the other in groups.

To become fully literate, the individual must acquire a host of neural demons that are completely absent from anyone who lacks literacy training.  This involves massive restructuring.  There is no equivalent in the preliterate mind to the circuits that hold the complex neural components of a reading vocabulary or the elaborate procedural habits of formal thinking.  These are unatural.  They have to be hammered in by decades of intensive schooling, which changes the functional uses of certain brain circuits and rewire the functional architecture of thought.  This process can be very extensive. Consider the impact of twenty or more years of schooling on the brain of someone who has acquired full symbolic literacy in several diffrerent technical, mathematical, scientific, and musical fields.  These skills encumber neural resources on a vast scale and change how the person's mind carries out its work.
301-2

The literary brain did not evolve, in the Darwinian sense.  Humans evolved as a species long before external symbols came into existence, and thus the brain could not have evolved specifically for their use.  Moreover, literacy is neither natural nor universal.  Humanity was illiterate until a few thousand years ago, and more than 90 percent of existing human languages have no indigenous form of literacy.  Yet the children of all human cultures are able to acquire literacy if given a chance.  This shows that the neural demons of literacy, in all their exquisite complexity, are entirely cultural in origin.  Literate culture has capitalized on untapped cerebral potential and reprogrammed the human brain in its own image.
Mind, 304
Cognitive-analytical
a summary of and commentary on Ceci


1.  a psychology of situations (classroom anectdottes)

2.  
cognitive complexity will be seen to be the more general of the two notions

3.  One also must be motivated (scientific ethos, etc

4.  
the three prongs of biology, environment, and motivation

5.  
specific mechanisms of organism-environment interaction, called proximal processes

6.  
Proximal processes refer to sustained interactions between a developing organism and the persons, symbols, and activities in its immediate environment.  To be effective, these processes must become progressively more complex and interactive over time.  (classroom; anti-evoluton; desire)



from John Marks, Gilles Deleuze: Vitalism and Multiplicity (Pluto Press, 1998)

 "[Deleuze] argues that Foucault has taken the rejection of repression and ideology a step further: power is not only seen as normalising, but also as productive."  118


Stephen J. Ceci, On Intelligence: A Bioecological Treatise on Intellectual Development, expanded edition (Harvard University Press, 1996)

"The possibility that there exists a more restless relationship between intelligence and context, in which thinking changes both its nature and its course as one moves from one situation to another, is enough to cause shudders in some research quarters.  It represents a move toward a psychology of situations . . . xvi

"The term intelligence is often used synonymously with "IQ", "g", or "general intelligence", especially in some of the psychometric literature. . .  however, the ability to engage in cognitively complex behaviors will be shown to be independent of IQ, g, or general intelligence . . . cognitive complexity will be seen to be the more general of the two notions and the one most theoretically important to keep in mind when referring to intelligent behavior." 22

"The literature that we reviewed demonstrates that it is not sufficient for one to be biologically endowed with a cognitive potential and even to be exposed to appropriate opportunities for its crystallization: One also must be motivated to benefit from this exposure.  Performance is influenced by learning, refinement, shaping, etc., and the role of motivation cannot be ignored in such matters.  Extrinsic motivators (such as the value that one attaches to attaining success on a task), as well as intrinsic motivators (inculcated through various parenting styles, such as fostering autonomy, valuing schooling, and adopting a modern world view . . ) are equally important in shaping cognitive outcomes.  116

" . . . it would appear that no theory is capable of handling the diversity of findings reviewed earlier, unless it consists of the three prongs of biology, environment, and motivation.  An important feature of the bio-ecological framework has been to suggest mechanisms by which these three factors combine to produce contextually tied performances . . . " 192

"In closing, it is time to ask about the nature of the resources responsible for intellectual growth.  Past research on the influence of the environment has ducked this question, preferring instead to contrast global SES differences on IQ, surmising that some aspects subsumed under the SES rubric must be causative but never specifying what they might be.  In a recent article Uri Bronfenbrenner and I proposed specific mechanisms of organism-environment interaction, called proximal processes, through which genetic potentials for intelligence are actualized.  We described research evidence from a variety of sources demonstrating that proximal processes operate in a variety of settings throughout the life-course (beginning in the family and continuing in child-care settings, peer groups, schools, and work places), and account for more of the variation in intellectual outcome than the environmental contexts (e.g., family structure, SES, culture) in which these proximal processes take place.  Proximal processes refer to sustained interactions between a developing organism and the persons, symbols, and activities in its immediate environment.  To be effective, these processes must become progressively more complex and interactive over time." 244-5

"The influence of the environment on differences in IQ among children growing up in straitened circumstances is greater than that for youngsters raised in a more favorable milieu.  This in turn implies that efforts to enhance intelligence by improving the environment are likely to be most effective for children living in the most impoverished circumstances, the very group that many of the New Interpreters seem to consider beyond remediation."  247




Basil Bernstein




from James R. Flynn, What is Inteligence?  Beyond the Flynn Effect (Cambridge Univesity Press, 2009)
"The scientific ethos, with its vocabulary, taxonomies, and detachment of logic and the hypothetical from concrete referents, has begun to permeate the minds of post-industrial peoples.  This has paved the way for mass education on the university level and the emergence of an intellectual cadre without whom our present civilization would be inconceivable." 29

"Reasoning skills are essential for higher mathemtics.  Therefore, by the twelfth grade, the failure to develop enhanced mathematical problem-solving strategies begins to bite.  American schoolchildren cannot do algebra and geometry any better than the previous generation." 22

What follows is my version of the cognitive history of the twentieth century. . .  Science altered our lives and then liberated our minds from the concrete.  This history has not been written because, as children of our own time, we do not perceive the gulf that separates us from our distant ancestors: the difference between their world and the world seen through scientific spectacles. . . .  As use of logic and the hypothetical moved beyond the concrete, people developed new habits of mind.  They became practiced at solving problems with abstract or visual content and more innovative at administative tasks." 172-174



Consider: the poltics of ressentiment seems to be rooted heavily in gestural semiosis with language of rage largely epithetical and used in a gestural context.  What does the work of Franz de Waal, when linked with Donald's comment to the right, imply for our understanding of today's right wing upheaval? 

The panel below right summarizes the authorities already referred to, wherein the central question involves cognitive modalities as well as developmental processes.  But given the complementary concept of complexity (Ceci, quoted at the right), I could not help but drag Georg Cantor's concept of cardinality into the game.  Hence the two formulations to the right.


from Michel Foucault, Remarks on Marx : conversations with Duccio Trombadori, translated by R. James Goldstein and James Cascaito (Semiotext(e), 1991)

It was a matter of calling the theme of the subject into question once again, that great, fundamental postulate which French philosophy,  from Descartes until our own time, had never abandoned.  Setting out with psychoanalysis, Lacan discovered, or brought out into the open, the fact that the theory of the unconscious is incompatible with a theory of the subject (in the Cartesian sense of the term as well as the phenomenological one). . .  Indeed, Lacan concluded that is was precisely the philosophy of the subject which had to be abandoned on account of this incompatibility, and that the point of departure should be an analysis of the mechanisms of the unconscious. p. 56-7

list of authorities

The Cambridge Handbook of Socioculural Psychology, edited by Jaan Valsiner and Alberto Rosa (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

The Oxford Handbook of Culture and Psychology, edited by Jaan Valsiner (Oxford University Press, 2012)

The Cambridge Companion to Piaget (2009)

The Cambridge Companion to Vygotsky, edited by Harry Daniels, Michael Cole, James Wertsch (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Shinobo Kitayama and Dov Cohen, eds., Handbook of Cultural Psychology (The Guilford Press, 2007)

David Bakhurst,  The Formation of Reason (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011)


 Zena Smith Blau, Black children/white children : competence, socialization, and social structure (Free Press, 1981)

Urie Bronfenbrenner and P. Morris, "The Bioecological Model of Human Development", in Handbook of Child Psychology  (edited by William Damon and Richard M. Lerner (Wiley InterScience, 2007)

Jerome Bruner

William Calvin, A Brief History of the Mind: From Apes to Intellect and Beyond (Oxford University Press, 2004)

 Stephen J. Ceci, On Intelligence: A Bioecological Treatise on Intellectual Development, expanded edition (Harvard University Press, 1996)

Michael Cole, Sheila R. Cole, and Cynthia Lightfoot, The Development of Children 6th ed. (Worth Publishers, 2008)

Michael Cole, The Development of Children 3rd ed. (W. H. Freeman and Co, 1996)

___________, Cultural Psychology: A Once and Future Discipline (Harvard University Press, 1998

___________, "Cultural-Historical Activity Theory: Integrating Phylogeny, Cultural History, and Ontogenesis in Cultural Psychology," in Kitayama (2007) below.

Merlin Donald,  A Mind So Rare: The Evolution of Human Consciousness (W. W. N
 & Company, 2001)

Merlin Donald,, Origins Of The Modern Mind : Three Stages In The Evolution Of Culture And Cognition (Harvard University Press, 1991).

"Educational psychology" (Wikipedia)

James R. Flynn, What is Intelligence?  Beyond the Flynn Effect (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Mary Gauvain, The Social Context of Cognitive Development (The Guilford Press, 2001)

Juan Carlos Gómez, Apes, Monkees, Children and the Growth of Mind (Harvard University Press, 2004)

Stanley I. Greenspan and Stuart G. Shanker. The first idea : how symbols, language, and intelligence evolved from our early primate ancestors to modern humans (Da Capo Press, 2004)

Peter M. Kappeler and Joan B. Silk, es., Mind the gap: tracing the origins of human universals (Springer, 2010)

Langer and Killen, Piaget, Evolution, and Development (1998)

LePan, The Cognitive Revolution in Western Culture (1989)

Robert K. Logan, The Extended Mind: The Emergence of Language, the Human Mind, and Culture (University of Toronto Press, 2007)

Lutz, S., & Huitt, W. (2004). "Connecting cognitive development and constructivism: Implications from theory for instruction and assessment."  Constructivism in the Human Sciences, 9(1), 67-90.

Allan Mazur, Biosociology of Dominance and Deference (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005)

Carl Husemoller Nightingale, On the edge : a history of poor black children and their American dreams  (Basic Books, 1993)

Richard E. Nisbett, Intelligence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count (W. W. Norton & Company, 2009)

Bert van Oers, Wim Wardekker, Ed Elbers, and Rene van Der Veer, eds, The Transformation of Learning: Advances in Cultural-Hitorial Activity Theory (Cambridge University Press, 2008)

David Olson, Jerome Bruner: The Cognitive Revolution in Eductional Theory (Continuum International Publishing Groups, 2007)

Introduction to Section 5.  Child Psychology: Vygotsky's Conception of Psychological Development by Carl Ratner, Institute for Cultural Research & Education

Hugh Rosen, Piagetian Dimensions of Clinical Relevance (Columbia University Press, 1985)

Child and adolescent development : an advanced course, edited by William Damon and Richard M. Lerner. (Wiley, 2008)

Robert J. Sternberg, ed., International Handbook of Intelligence (Cambridge University Press, 2004)

Mercer L. Sullivan, "Getting paid" : youth crime and work in the inner city, (Cornell Univesity Press, 1989)

Michael Tomasello, Origins of Human Communication (MIT Press, 2010)

Jaan Valsiner and René  van der Veer, The Social Mind: Construction of the Idea (Cambridge University Press, 2000)

Richard W. Wrangham (Department of Antroropology, Peabody Museum, Harvard University) and Michael L. Wilson (Department of Ecology and Behavior, University of Minnesota, and Gombe Stream Research Centre, the Jane Goodall Institute, Tanzania), "Collective Violence: Comparison Between Youths and Chimpanzees" see p 238 for quote

Developmental psychology (wiki)

***

Below: difference: translation into historical-developmental terms.  Not until modern times and the widspread (but class-bounded) development of formal operational performativity together with enlightenment idealism and the notion of the individual did the problem of inequality arise.  Azmitia's review suggests the touchiness of the subject.

It might be better to refer to the Age of Bildung: a period in which a section of society self-consiously grasped the formal operational possibilities immanent within the bourgeois project (or even defining the bourgeois project), subsumed under the concept of Bildung.  Since Bildung is a conscious project of state and society, the differential development (and even regression under the impact of late capitalism in the USA and Great Britain--consumer clture) of different human elements is one of the chief products of modernity.

This is not the inequality that radicals and progresives talk about; this is not socio-economic and political inequality.  This is something more fundamental--an ontological inequality, a developmental divergence whose catastrophic consequences are best observed in the USA.  (Finland is the best place to observe the self-consious attempt of leadership to come to grips with and overcome this inherent tendency toward developmental divergence.  The PISA report--PISA 2009 Results: Overcoming Social Background – Equity in Learning Opportunities and Outcomes (Volume II)--directly confronts this most fundamental of political questions.   --->
Figure 1 is thus only a prelude to a monumental transformation of the world alreadypisa well underway.  The difficulty I have in coping with this emergent reality is reflected in the repetitiousness of this page, and my dislike of where the world, and esp my own country, is headed.  One ought to watch a sampling  of reality TV--Maury Povich Show, Jersey Shore, Judge Judy--to get a sense of that part of the world that is barely literate, cognitively primitive, narcissistic and materialistic.  better still, teach in a program who purpose, explicitly stated, is to recruit from as broad a swathe of the population as possible, sometimes including students living in half-way houses and so heavily medicated that they are barely conscious.  (It was my positition that we should recognize that a significant number of our students--1/3 to 2/3--could benefit greatly from a developmentally oriented program, but only if we limited our enrollment to those who were ready to do so.  Instead, our goal was defined by reaching out to the lowest possible denominator.)

In Finland early childhood education--anti-poverty, health care, eduation of parents

In US,,former secy of ed Alexander, when confronted with the poor performance of elementary and seocndary studnets in the united ste, hd this to say

ALEXANDER: Well, let's think about what we're doing right. What we're doing right is by any standard we have almost all the best colleges and universities in the world, almost any standard. We should change our elementary and secondary system and make it more like our colleges which is to say create independent schools, we call them charter schools, and let the money follow the children to any school that fits the needs of those children. If they need to be there from 6:00 in the morning to 6:00 at night and on Saturday they can select that school. That would help.

When such a primate can become secretary of eduction, you know that the nation is finished.  The striking thing about american edu reform rhetoric is a. it completely igmnores and even demonizes relevant social science; b. it compltely gnore the most succesful natons experience; and c. it simply recycles the shibboleths of a provncial protnatism.  d. iit degrades and scapegoats teachers; e. it ants to replace well educated advnaced humans with anti-foral opeational hacks (Relay Univesity)This is the essence of eductional reform in the usa.